Welcome to Canton, North Carolina! You’ve probably never heard of it, but that’s okay. We’re here for a reason!
Situated west of the bustling, popular city of Asheville, Canton is a mill town that, honestly, has seen better days. The good news is that it’ll soon be on the rise, with lots of entrepreneurs and great people that are shaping what’s to come.
That, combined with the growth of Asheville, will make Canton a great place to be sooner than later. We visited because we wanted to check out its potential and see some of its history, so we spent a couple hours walking around and enjoying a drink here.
Of course, the mill is a bit of an eyesore since it sits directly next to Canton’s historic downtown. I don’t necessarily need them to close it and tear it down, but some sort of wall would probably make the town more appealing to a lot of folks. Not to mention the smell of Brussels sprouts that permeates the air that we’ve heard a lot of people complain about. (Which didn’t really bother us, honestly.)
When we first parked the car in downtown Canton, we saw a lot of interesting, old murals on the walls. We saw some city scenes and a mural for the 1954 YMCA softball championship team. Pretty cool.
And for some reason unbeknownst to us, there’s a whole mural of the Canton police station, complete with jail cells and prisoners. Haha! So. Odd.
And, just because Canton isn’t in prime shape this century, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in pretty and historic buildings.
Walking around, we also walked by a building that used to be where soldiers were picked up after enlisting or being drafted for World War II. Today, the building is covered in murals showing them leaving for service and saying goodbye to their families. I’ve never seen anything like it, so it was really intriguing to me.
We eventually settled at Southern Porch, a fine restaurant in the center of Canton. It recently became this place after years as The Imperial.
Housed in a classy, historic building it serves some serious food and has a great ambience inside and on the terrace. On this day, however, we opted to sit on the rockers and enjoy an iced tea.
And that wraps up our visit to Canton, NC! While there’s not a lot to do here, there’s relaxation to be had in the mountains of Western North Carolina. And – this I can guarantee – Canton is about to get a lot of its vibe back with some new businesses opening and growth coming from the east. Why not check it out when you’re in the area?
A very special and very big thanks to Anna at the Haywood County TDA, for showing us the ropes, giving us great advice, and for being a wonderful person. Thanks as well to Big John for schooling us at the TDA office.
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Have you ever been to Canton? If so, what’d you think? If not, what say ye? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!